Interviews

Lucinda Williams on the Late Miller Williams, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, and Earliest Musical Memories

A line Lucinda Williams likes to sing that she borrowed from her poet father is: "The temporary nature of any precious thing, that just makes it more precious." It was just one of the many bits of advice, momentary musings, or poetic observations that her father, Clinton inaugural poet Miller Williams, gifted to her in his life.

On New Year's Day, Miller Williams passed away at age 84. When we spoke with her, Lucinda was doing a day of press interviews, and that's all anyone wanted to talk about. "I just did an interview right before this, and that's all we talked about, so it's just hard," she paused, causing her unmistakable, tender Southern drawl to trail off. "It's just hard to talk about, but I don't mind; we can go ahead."

In D.C., prepping for a performance at a tribute show for friend Emmylou Harris, journalists almost expected Williams to access and distribute that fresh heartache and dredge the mines of her grief because it comes across so beautifully and effortlessly in the 36-year catalog of what she calls "heartbreaker songs."

"Heartache comes from all kinds of places, like my dad's death. That's a lot bigger of a heartache than losing a boyfriend."

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Terra Sullivan